Dear CIO, please don´t cry!

I have a big shoulder for you to cry on, and that shoulder has been used a lot, most of the time I am part time IT management consultant and part time IT therapist. Some people might wonder why, and I´ll tell you.

CIOs and IT managers out there, I feel your pain, I know your troubles and I´ve even been where you are.

You are the “one” you know. The one that is supposed to make sure that IT enables the business, not only satisfies the needs for information technology but also excel in the clever use of information to gain business benefits and, at the end of the day make more money. You are the one that are supposed to make sure that your IT brings as much value as possible to the business, using as little resources as possible and minimize risk. This is tricky business.

You have to understand the business, know what is happening and many times foresee and predict things the business does not even know themselves yet. Sometimes all this without even being part of the management team. Dear CIO, do you do the cha-cha, the ISO, the Scrum, the ITIL or the SAP? Do you have the happy people from purchasing doing the mambo right when you are about the sign the contract with that good supplier? Do the cheerful people from corporate compliance and sustainability invite you up do dance? All of a sudden, you are supposed to give even more, with fewer resources and you have to show how good you are doing, otherwise everything you do will be outsourced to some place cheap.

IT is supposed to do more with less.

Dear CIO, please don´t. There is a way. You can do all this! However, you need to get things going to reach that place. There are a few things you absolutely should do as quickly as possible:

  1. Get to know yourself, do a good baseline assessment, to know exactly where you are in terms of processes, people, products/tools and partners, easy to remember, the four P´s. Please read my blog, for more about the fundamental, so very important baseline assessment. Without this, you are blind and even though you think you are improving things, you might be going in the wrong direction. You need this snapshot!
  2. Get to know the business, even if you think you know them pretty good you will be amazed how much potential lays in knowing them even better. What are they using, when are they using it, how are they using it, and who are they? How do different departments/groups/roles differ from each other, what are the bread and butter for the business? Do a poll, talk to managers, and send out a survey. Really listen to them, take your time. These are your clients, that’s right, they are your customer, and everyone in your organization need to see it that way to and really get to know them.
  3. Empower your people. Micro-management is not the way to go, unless you want to be part of every decision that is made, have your staff not being committed, waste the talent you hired and in the end fail. Usually these are the very things we try to avoid. So, include your staff, make people responsible for processes and services. Rotate jobs and make sure that people know that there are plenty of opportunity in your team, for those who not only do what is in their job description but also walk the extra mile for your dear clients. These are the people you want, you cannot have them all but you can be pretty damn sure you will have almost none if you don’t empower your staff.
  4. Open your eyes to the world, how are other organizations doing this? Are there any cool things I can implement that will help us deliver and prosper? There are loads and loads and loads of methods, frameworks and best practices and most of them work great. You just need to pick the pieces that suits you, and please, remember that most things out there, including ITIL, CoBIT, ISOs, SCRUM, Six Sigma and the whole lot, are theoretical and need to be adapted to your unique context. Never trust someone like me saying I have turnkey processes for you. I have done far too many rescue projects for customers really being in trouble with these totally theoretical and unusable implantations. Believe me; I know what I am talking about.
  5. Read my blog, follow my LinkedIn profile and when you seen enough to understand that I am the best friend you will ever have, send me an e-mail and let’s talk, remember that I have a big shoulder to cry on and know exactly which words you need to hear to feel better, and what is needed to get the business smiling.

There is definitely more where that came from, please stay tuned or get in touch if you cannot wait.. and always remember, stay smart!


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